Hilary Meredith Solicitors – our response to the Queen’s Speech

We welcome the government’s proposals to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims – as long as the focus is on reducing fraudulent claims and better regulation of claims management companies and not taking away the rights of victims to recover compensation.

All our staff are trained to identify potentially fraudulent cases.  We believe anti-fraud training should be a regulatory requirement, with a zero tolerance policy adopted across the board.

There will always be a need for legal representation, particularly for those who have been seriously injured on the roads.  The Civil Liability Bill will ban offers to settle claims without the support of medical evidence – but we are concerned that this will end the possibility of early settlements and the significant cost savings they bring.

The promise of reduced premiums by £35 a year is one that needs to be carefully monitored.  Insurers need to be held to account.

The regulation of claims management companies by the Financial Service Authority will assist in identifying and stopping fraud.  For too long claims management companies have operated without regulation or audit.  A kite mark of excellence is needed.

It is encouraging that the government acknowledges legal assistance is required at an Inquest. If ever there was an occasion for legal representation it surely must be for bereaved families faced with corporations employing the best lawyers in what has become a complex inquest system.

A government appointed advocate for inquests is not the way forward however.   Any advocate appointed by the state will be viewed with suspicion by the bereaved family.  For example, would the Grenfell Tower families trust a government appointed advocate to act in their best interests?  Most certainly not.

Our court system is extremely dated in many ways. The closure of so many courts has not assisted.   No doubt the monumental court fee hike from £1,500 to £10,000 last year will help to pay for a new digital error in our court system.

The legislation in the Family Courts to stop cross examination of victims by their perpetrator is long overdue and we are  pleased to see this important issue recognised.

The only planned health legislation is a Draft Patient Safety Bill which will establish a Health Service Safety Investigation Body to carry out impartial investigations but with the ability to prohibit disclosure of information held in connection with the investigation.  While we welcome any initiative to improve patient safety this should not be done behind a veil of secrecy.